New and Right Spirit
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
September 15th and 16th, a group of New York Conference members gathered at White Eagle Conference Center for two days of intensive anti-racism work. The diverse group, led by experienced facilitators, explored the historical aspects of racism in the United States as well as many modern-day manifestations of racial bias and discrimination. As participants listened, journaled and shared personal stories, each participated in the hard work of uprooting personal biases and broadening their understanding of systemic oppressive structures. With the help of the facilitators, these trainees acquired skills and learned techniques that will allow them to guide others in engaging in these very difficult conversations. These newly trained, Anti-Racism facilitators are available to lead discussions and host dismantling racism events in your association and communities throughout NY State. If you are considering holding an anti-racism conversation or event, do not hesitate to call on them. They are anxious to help.
Your New & Right Spirit Anti-Racism Facilitators:
Dominique Atchison - Metro Association
Geraldine Howard - Metro Association
Amy Harbo - Metro Association
Chad Tanaka Pack - Reformed Association
Pierre Albrecht-Carrie - Western Association
Vicki Burtson - Susquehanna Association
Gary Smith - Susquehanna Association
Peter Nilsson - Genesee Valley Association
Alan Dailey - Oneida Association
Now is the right time to expand our understanding of race, racism, and white privilege, and to act with a new and right Spirit in our heart. This is the goal of the “New and Right Spirit” one-day appeal to take place on Ash Wednesday (March 1st) 2017. Donations will fund specialized training for persons who will be deployed around New York State to facilitate honest, safe, and, yes, unsettling conversations that acknowledge our struggles with race, racism, and white privilege. These are conversations for communities: sometimes in a church, sometimes in a school, sometimes in a town hall. Please give generously on Ash Wednesday and be part of the change we long for.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 on March 1st (Ash Wednesday) for the “New and Right Spirit” flash campaign to expand our understanding of race, racism and white privilege in our communities and churches in New York. Ten Thousand Dollars will fund specialized training for persons who will be deployed around New York State to facilitate honest, safe, and yes unsettling conversations that acknowledge our struggles with race, racism, and white privilege.
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New and Right Spirit
Psalm 51: 10
When I was fifteen years old I had very long greasy hair and tended to dress somewhat shabby. But when I went into any drugstore and walked up and down the aisles, no one gave a second glance. Why? Because I am white. This is white privilege. That was not the case for Cameron, the only black boy in my high school. Gaining awareness of my own white privilege was, unfortunately, a slow process. My first racism awareness training took place when I was over forty years old. I wish it had happened sooner.
It is difficult to talk about race, racism, and white privilege. Often white people become defensive and black people become frustrated. The United Church of Christ's Sacred Conversations on Race have been around for decades. But too often there was a fundamental flaw in it's approach. Too often persons of color were asked to lead a white audience in a conversation that ultimately lead to the reality of white privileged, institutional racism, and deep seated feelings that many were taught from the earliest stages of their lives.
Perhaps there hasn't been a more charged moment for several decades, as the present, when the opening of minds and hearts to racism and white privilege has been more critically important to discuss. And while the UCC Sacred Conversations have focused on faith communities, perhaps now is the time for the mission of the United Church of Christ in New York to bring the conversation to communities and schools. This is the dream of the New and Right Spirit program. This is our mandate as the United Church of Christ in New York. But for now, it is unfunded.
On Ash Wednesday we will open a one day special campaign to fund the New and Right Spirit program. Please support this essential effort. On Ash Wednesday, go to www.uccny.org/resources/new-and-right-spirit/ and look for the "Donate" button. Or, visit the Facebook page of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ and look for our New and Right Spirit posts. Make the New and Right Spirit logo your picture on Facebook for one day.
As important as your gift is to this effort, equally important is that you share your support with others. Particularly using social media, spread the news of your support so that other will follow your lead.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "The time is always right to do what is right."
This Ash Wednesday is the right time. Please support this ministry.
David R Gaewski